When people are willing to be early adopters, it signals curiosity to me.
Sandra Austin and her team of strategic leaders at the Region of Durham were willing to invest in assessing their adaptability when my use of the AQai tool was quite new. I was not surprised, as these are people quite comfortable living in a state of high ambiguity. They are skilled at convening unconventional groups, embodying roles with shifting expectations and solving problems that involve complexity and unfamiliar territory. I admired their commitment to keeping their skills sharp in innovative ways. They also stayed curious with one another and open to possibilities as we worked through articulating a common understanding of what their shared work entails.
Dr. Dorothy Nyambi exhibits curiosity in a different way — often by making challenging, future-focused decisions as a leader and encouraging those around her to remain open to the possibilities those decisions might create. She does not shy away from levelling up — I imagine an adventurous climber scaling the next peak to see what the view is like from there and encouraging her crew to join her up there. Dorothy is the President and CEO of MEDA and the Chair of the Board of Governors of the IDRC. I have learned from her that curiosity can often show up as courage.
As Dorothy notes in ELASTIC, “There’s a lot of talk about curiosity, but in the real world, that doesn’t always translate into behaviour.” She and Sandra are people who walk the curiosity talk.
Find more real-life examples of leaders that demonstrate the ELASTIC characteristics here, and in my new book, ELASTIC: Stretch without snapping or snapping back.